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Italian Bread-Dipping Oil

Move over, butter, this is better!

While we love to cook and are always coming up with new recipes, we also love going out to restaurants where we can try new things and get inspiration for future concoctions in our own kitchen. Our enthusiasm may initially be for whatever new main courses we might find on the menu, we find we get just as excited for the appetizers as well as the entrée, even if that’s just bread and butter – or dipping oil, like the one we love at our favorite Italian restaurant. A perfect blend of herbs, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this mixture completely transforms the typical bread and butter experience, and we can’t get enough of it!

It may seem fancy or perhaps like something that you wouldn’t think of making yourself, but it’s actually ridiculously easy to make your own Italian-style dipping oil at home. Easy and delicious, and people will definitely be impressed when you serve this up! Essentially, all you need is some extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and an assortment of dried or fresh herbs. (We used dry in this case, since it’s what we had on hand.) You’ll pour your oil into whatever serving vessel you like – we find it’s easy enough to just throw this together right before people come over, so you don’t need to worry about prepping it in one dish and then transferring it to another – and then top is off with your balsamic, which you can adjust to your liking. Add your garlic, which is crushed so that the flavor can better blend with the oil, then your herbs, adding some red pepper flakes if you like a little extra heat. And that’s it! It seriously couldn’t be any easier, and then you’ve got a stellar appetizer that looks and tastes amazing.

What you serve it with is up to you. Just about any bread that can be dipped will do very nicely indeed, but we have a soft spot for some fluffy focaccia to absorb all that deliciousness. It’s buttery perfection on its own, and when dipped into this Italian oil…oh my goodness, you won’t believe how good it is. Trust us, this is about to become an entertaining staple for you – you’ll love it and so will everyone else!

Serves 6

5 minutes

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • baguette or focaccia, sliced
  1. Pour olive oil into serving bowl, then pour balsamic vinegar into the center of bowl.
  2. Add crushed garlic, then sprinkle dried herbs in and red pepper flakes, if using.
  3. Gently mix everything together, then serve with warm focaccia or toasted baguette.

Recipe adapted from Manila Spoon

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